7/2/2013 9:14 P.M. ET
Maddon praises Johnson's defense at third
By Glenn Sattell / Special to MLB.com
HOUSTON -- Though he was hitting just .105 over his last 23 games entering Tuesday, Rays third baseman Kelly Johnson had exceeded expectations at third base, manager Joe Maddon said.
"He's played it really well, not just OK," Maddon said. "It seems like he's comfortable with the left side of the field because he's played left field really well, too."
Handling the defensive side of his game, Johnson looks to beef up his stats on offense. He was in Tuesday's lineup, hitting in the No. 9 spot.
"He's reacted to the ball well in left field, and he's reacted well to the ball at third base," Maddon said.
Zobrist reacts to Porcello suspension
HOUSTON -- Major League Baseball on Tuesday announced a six-game suspension for Detroit pitcher Rick Porcello, who hit Rays second baseman Ben Zobrist in Sunday's game.
"Obviously the league felt that more action needed to be taken than was taken during the game; that's their decision," Zobrist said.
"I was surprised," he added. "I really didn't expect anything to happen after that day. I thought something might happen that day. After reviewing it, I assumed that they must have felt that some action needed to be taken."
Zobrist said he would rather not be in the spotlight for the incident.
"These situations do not make you feel real good," he said. "But in hindsight, obviously it's good to know that the league is taking action on certain things like that, that are safety issues.
"I thought [the hit] was intentional, and obviously the league deemed that as well. They dolled out the penalty."
After big day, Rays option Roberts for Price
HOUSTON -- To make room for the return of reigning AL Cy Young winner David Price, the Rays optioned infielder Ryan Roberts to Triple-A Durham. Price was the Rays' starting pitcher Tuesday.
Roberts was sent down a day after collecting three hits, including two home runs in Monday's 12-0 win.
"It's difficult; the guy has a great game [Monday], but he kind of knew that it might be forthcoming," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "He'll be back.
"I really appreciate how well he handled that moment, knowing that there was a pretty good chance that he would be sent back the next day. I was really impressed with everything that Ryan did [Monday]. He's going to help us win the pennant at some point again this year."
Longoria back for Rays as injury lingers
HOUSTON -- Evan Longoria returned to the Rays' lineup Tuesday. He had not played since Friday, when he was sidelined with plantar fasciitis of his right foot.
"I'm in the lineup," Longoria said with a smile as he walked past the lineup card taped to the clubhouse wall that had him hitting fourth in the batting order as the Rays' designated hitter.
"He's been working the last couple days," manager Joe Maddon said. "He came out early today; ran around, took some ground balls, hit, did all those different baseball things and came back in and felt strongly that he's able to play.
"Of course he's not going to be able to run at full strength, full speed, and we may have to do something later in the game as necessary."
Whether Longoria can remain in the lineup on a consistent basis is still a day-to-day proposition.
"This is all a 'feel' thing, and we'll see how he comes through it tonight," Maddon said.
Glenn Sattell is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.